To Market, to Market

Door manufacturers offer a variety of tools to help dealers and distributors make the sale
Stacey Freed
August 20, 2014
FEATURE ARTICLE | Sales & Marketing

With so many options for customization at nearly every price point, choosing an entry door can be overwhelming. And since getting doors into the hands of consumers is the ultimate goal, manufacturers have developed an arsenal of tools to make it easier for dealers and distributors to spread the word—and make the sale.

All the door manufacturers interviewed for this article have a website, which they are finding is the first stop for many builders, architects and homeowners. The next stop is a showroom visit, and that’s where point-of-sale displays are important for dealers. “It’s all about interactivity,” says Curt Daniel, product manager for Therma-Tru Doors.

Displays are often shown in vignettes but also include door skins, small pieces of glass, door cutaways and a variety of material selections— all for end users to touch and feel. “Showroom displays are critical,” says Craig Weaver, product manager at Jeld-Wen. “The dealer can point out key door features and benefits, and the displays are helpful in exhibiting the actual wood grain and how the door will look stained or painted.”

 ODL’s Digital Display Door incorporates a high-definition television into a standard 6-panel door, allowing the dealer to show unlimited patterns of glass on the monitor.

Other tools for dealers and distributors:

BOOK IT: TruTech uses custom catalogs to help its distributors boost sales. “We take their information regarding the main products they want to offer and we customize it,” says Steve Hall, director of U.S. sales. TruTech has a lot of styles and products and “not every [distributor] wants to stock or promote every style. They want more of what they have in their warehouse, what’s selling in their market.”

While the manufacturer might have an 80- page catalog, for example, a distributor’s catalog, which is presented as a high-quality full-color magazine, might only be 40 pages.

FIELD DAY: GlassCraft Door Co. gives salespeople in the field its catalog. “A homeowner says ‘I want that door,’ and the salesperson enters the stock number and gets a drawing of the product and a list price on their cell phone or iPad,” says John Plummer, president and founder. “It instantly gives them a list price rather than having them flip through hundreds of pages to find a price.”

PICTURE THIS: ODL Inc. offers what it calls “digital asset management software” so, for example, a designer at an ODL dealer or distributor who needs graphic imagery can log on and download any of ODL’s catalog images at any resolution for their collateral needs. “If you’re designing a poster,” says Keith Juhola, vice president, sales and marketing, “you can get a high-res image. For a web page with thumbnails, you can get the appropriate size.” In its first three months, “customers collectively downloaded over 12,000 images” using the software, Juhola reports.

SEE IT NOW: Visualization software is practically de rigueur at this point. ODL has its “Your Door Stylizer”; Masonite its Max Express; Simpson allows web visitors to “Test Drive” a door and has a glass “Taste Test”; Therma-Tru has its DoorWays app; and Jeld-Wen’s website offers a “Design Your Own” section. TruTech recently unveiled its “Try It On” iPad app that’s available only to sales reps, distributors and dealers. For all these tools, visitors can pick and choose styles and materials, and in most cases, they can upload photographs of their homes to see the door in action.

TV RULES: Therma-Tru dealers use TVs to show the company’s product portfolio. “It makes sense if a dealer has limited floor space for displays,” says Daniel. ODL partnered with Jeld-Wen to put a TV in a door that’s roughly the right size for a 22 x 36-inch piece of glass. “It’s like a half lite,” Juhola says. “We uploaded the TV with actual images of our glass—rich, provocative photography. We invested a lot to make sure the imagery was spot on.” ODL ships dealers a door with a thumb drive to display the imagery.

LEAD GEN: Masonite’s Max Express also acts as a CRM for dealers to keep track of quotes and send follow-up messages. Simpson gets information from consumers from its website, which asks a visitor where he or she is from. Consumers are presented with a list of local dealers. “In real time, the sales contact we have at Smith’s Window & Door, for example, receives a lead from Simpson via email,” Loveless says. Dealers logon to a password-protected site where they can see the leads they’ve received and access a price quoting system.

Freed is a contributing writer for Window & Door.